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Nuts & Bolts - Case Study : Mobile Sign-ups Are Fertile Crop for THP

August 2012 By Heather Fletcher
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With mobile visits to its website more than doubling during the past year, The Hunger Project saw an opportunity. Why not sign up potential donors while they're using the channel?

That's when the New York-based nonprofit that's "committed to the sustainable end of world hunger" decided to hire Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Pontiflex, a mobile sign-up ad platform provider.

"The immediate goal of the project was to increase the size of our email database," says Jenna Recuber, director of communications at The Hunger Project. "So I think long-term we know, as a nonprofit, that one of the best ways to expand our online fundraising is to increase the size of our email database. But it also has a secondary goal of raising awareness about our issues and about our organization."

Recuber says the mobile sign-up campaign took three weeks to organize and was ready to go in December 2011. But her team waited until February 2012 to launch the month-long effort.

"We were able to use the opportunity [of being] in the middle of a switch to Convio's Luminate suite and their Luminate Online system being linked with our CRM," Recuber says. "Pontiflex had a new relationship that they had built with Convio that was able to integrate directly with them. So they uploaded all the new contacts directly into our system. We didn't have to worry about Excel sheets or anything like that. So we waited until that system was all set up on our end and launched on Feb. 1, for that reason."

Plus, the extra time and the new integration helped The Hunger Project's two-person communications team in other ways. Pontiflex aided the charity with editorial input for its three-part welcome series for these new "investors" and the new Convio tool allowed them to launch the series immediately upon sign up, with the second message going out seven days later and the third one a week later (or 14 days after sign-up).

Results were immediate. During that month, The Hunger Project increased its email database by 50 percent, Recuber says.

That far outpaced previous efforts—which generally came from event sign-ups or Google searchers clicking on the charity's ads, then signing up on the home page. Those efforts had yielded a 22 percent database growth rate each year from 2008 to 2011.


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